United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
TAMI R. SEAL
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
WELLS ROBY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an action for judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security pursuant to Title 42 of the
United States Code § 405(g). The Commissioner denied
Tami Seal's claim for a Title II application for a period
of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits of the Social
Security Act, Title 42 United States Code § 1382c.
matter was referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to Title 28 United States Code
§ 636(b) for the submission of Proposed Findings and
Factual and Procedural Summary
Seal is a fifty-eight-year-old female with a high school
education who last worked as a seamstress, legal secretary,
substitute teacher and call center supervisor with a
disability allegedly beginning on November 1, 2006. R. Doc.
11-3, Tr. 87-104. Seal filed for Disability Insurance
Benefits with the Social Security Administration on November
22, 2013. Id. Shealleges that she is disabled and
unable to work because she suffers from Multiple Sclerosis
(“MS”), fibromyalgia, cognitive problems,
depression, degenerative disc disease, osteoporosis and
diverticulitis. Id. at Tr. 87.
3, 2014, the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) found that Seal was not disabled.
Id. at Tr. 87-104. On August 18, 2014, she filed a
request for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) in the Social Security
Administration's Office of Hearings and Appeals. R. Doc.
11-4, Tr. 127-28. Administrative Law Judge Thomas G.
Henderson conducted a hearing on December 11, 2014 and a
supplemental hearing on July 23, 2015 in which he reviewed
the SSA's decision to deny Seal's application for a
period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits. R.
Doc. 11-2, Tr. 27-78. On September 2, 2015, the ALJ found
that Seal was not disabled and not eligible for Supplemental
Security Income Benefits. Id. at Tr. 6-26. On
October 23, 2015, the Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ's
determination. Id. at Tr. 1-4.
December 24, 2015, Seal filed the subject complaint seeking
judicial review of the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). R. Doc. 1. Both parties have submitted
their briefs for consideration by the Court.
Findings of the Administrative Law Judge
September 2, 2015, the ALJ, issued a decision denying
Seal's request for a period of disability and Disability
Insurance Benefits. R. Doc. 11-2, Tr. 6-26. The ALJ found
that Seal was not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since November 1, 2006 through her last date of insured of
December 31, 2008. Id. at Tr. 11. He found that Seal
had the following severe impairments: depressive disorder-not
otherwise specified, major depressive disorder and
obsessive-compulsive disorder. Id.
further concluded that Seal's impairments or combination
of impairments did not equal or meet the requirements of any
impairment listed in Appendix I, in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart
B, and Appendix 1. Id. at Tr. 14. The ALJ found that
through the date of last insured, Seal had the residual
functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels but with non-exertional limitations of
simple, routine, repetitive tasks; no fast paced production
work or work with quotas and no close coordination with
co-workers. Id. at Tr. 15. The ALJ found that
through the date last insured Seal was unable to perform any
past relevant work. Id. at Tr. 19.
also held that, while Seal is not able to perform any past
relevant work, that she is a younger individual according to
the regulations who is able to communicate in English and
whose job skills transferability is not material to the
determination of disability because the Medical Vocational
Rules supported a finding that she is not disabled”
whether or not she had transferable job skills. Id.
at Tr. 19. Thereafter, the ALJ found that considering
Seal's age, education, work experience and residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) there were jobs
existing in significant numbers in the national economy
Id. at Tr. 20. The ALJ concluded that Seal has not
been under a disability since November 1, 2006, the alleged
onset date, through December 31, 2008, the date last insured.
Id. at Tr. 21.
Seal's request was denied at the administrative level,
she sought review from the Appeals Council who denied her
request. Id. at Tr. 1-4. On December 24, 2015, Seal
filed a complaint in this court challenging the ALJ's
decision on several grounds.
1. Whether the ALJ's decision is based upon substantial
evidence where he concluded that the allegation of MS was not
a medically determinable impairment due to lack of objective
medical evidence, failed to considered medical evidence and
rejected the treating physician's medical opinion?
2. Whether the ALJ's RFC Assessment is based upon
3. Whether the ALJ's opinion is based upon substantial
evidence because he failed to give controlling weight to